Friday, August 24, 2012

Eighth Ohio District Court of Appeals "castle doctrine" case

In a case in which a woman went to the home of her ex-husband to visit their daughter , whom the ex-husband had permanent custody of, spent the night, but was then killed during an argument the next morning, resulted in the ex-husband's being charged and convicted of murder, felonious assault, and tampering with evidence for which he was sentenced to death. The Eighth District vacated the man's convictions last week, remanding the case for a new trial.(See CourtNews article)( Decision )

Eight District Judge James J. Sweeney in the unanimous decision that found fault with the trial court for not instructing the jury on the Castle Doctrine as codified in Ohio Revised Code §2901.09, saying, "The trial court never stated the general proposition of law that a person has no duty to retreat inside his or her home, which stems from the deep-rooted English maxim that 'a man's home is his castle,'" quoting from State v. Comer, 4th Dist. No. 10CA15, 2012-Ohio-2261.

Judge Sweeney also cited the Ohio Supreme Court case, State v. Thomas, 77 Ohio St.3d 323, 327, 673 N.E.2d 1339, which held "one should not be required to retreat when attacked by a cohabitant in order to claim self-defense," expanding the Castle Doctrine to cases of domestic violence.

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